NZ Classic Driver
LOTUS XV CHASSIS #609
The Lotus raced by Roger at Goodwood is an original early Lotus XV discovered in Australia in 2015 and restored to Coombs Racing specification and livery.
In 1958 it was sold new to John Coombs Racing Organisation with a letter from Colin Chapman saying it would only be sold on provision Coombs didn’t beat Lotus works cars! First raced by Roy Salvadori in the Daily Express event at Silverstone on May 3, 1958, Salvadori then took it to second overall in the support race to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on July 19, 1958.
#609’s next, and perhaps most significant outing was at that year’s Tourist Trophy at Goodwood on September 13 where it was driven by Bruce McLaren and another promising Kiwi, Syd Jensen. Despite qualifying well in seventh place, the car retired on lap 53 with gearbox issues.
The car’s final outing for Coombs was at Oulton Park on September 20, 1958, where Salvadori won, beating some stiff competition including Ivor Bueb, Bruce Halford and Andre Pilette in Listers, Jonathan Sieff in a Jaguar D-Type and Innes Ireland in another Lotus 15. #609 was then sold, less-engine, to Count Stephen Ouvaroff (aka Steve Ames) who installed a Ford 105E engine. In a Heat 1 race he beat Dennis Taylor’s Team Speedwell Lola-Austin, and in the final took second place to Trevor Taylor. The car then went to Anne Thomson in Australia, enjoying a long local history with her and subsequently many years with Barry Bates.
#609 returned to Europe in 2015 and was invited to the Goodwood Revival for the Bruce McLaren Tribute. From then on in the hands of Roger Wills, the Lotus became something of a ‘giant slayer’ in classic events.